The New York Times and Dave Leonhardt’s Upshot section made a big splash a few days ago by reporting on a study showing that the Canadian middle class had caught the US middle class in median income and likely surpassed it since. The study is based on an effort to measure median income per capita after taxes, and its results are presented as something truly significant.
However, I think the study is biased in that in median income per capita after taxes, it selected the wrong measure. What is needed is a measure of income or affluence that takes account of the value of cross-national variations in Government benefits delivered to the middle classes. Since the United States has lower taxes than most comparable nations, but delivers much less in safety net and entitlement benefits, it’s pretty clear that the measure used in the study reported on by The Times overestimates the real median income of the US middle class in comparison with the middle classes of other comparable nations and provides a misleading impression of the relative affluence of the American middle class.
Posted in Joe Firestone
Tagged 2011 Median Wealth per Adult, Credit Suisse 2011 Global Wealth Databook, Dave Leonhardt, Dylan Matthews, Ezra Klein Blog, Median Income Per Capita, new york times, romney, US Inequality, US Ranking on Median Wealth per Adult, wigwam
By Fadhel Kaboub
When British economist and public intellectual John Maynard Keynes wrote his famous essay entitled “The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill” in 1925, the British economy was still suffering the consequences of WWI, and was slowly sliding into the worst economic depression in world history. Today, as the Great Recession continues to devastate millions of people’s lives in the United States, Americans will decide in a matter of days whether they want Mr. Obama to continue on as President for another four-year term, or elect Governor Romney to replace him in the White House. As an economist who is committed to social justice, I would like to offer a brief assessment of President Obama’s economic policies during his first term, and speculate on the likely direction that the U.S. will take under a second term Obama administration versus a possible Romney White House.
By June Carbone
Mitt Romney has been going around telling newspaper editorial boards that the Affordable Care Act is redundant, that – to quote him in the Central Ohio Dispatch – “you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care; and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital.” (10/11/12 Ohio Dispatch) Over the last few days, Paul Krugman and Nick Kristof have pointed out that limiting health care to emergency room visits already means that people die unnecessarily. It’s just that when they are not the Harvard roommates of New York Times columnists no one except their families notices. Continue reading
By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)
My favorite scene from The West Wing is the episode in which the President’s press secretary is recovering from a root canal and Josh Lyman decides to handle a press briefing. Lyman is a young whiz kid who believes he is the smartest guy in the room, but the briefing goes disastrously. Lyman has to explain to the President that he has, sarcastically, told the press that the President has “a secret plan to fight inflation.” The press, fed up with Lyman’s arrogance, has decided to report Lyman’s statement about the secret plan without noting the sarcasm. Worse is still to come, for upon questioning Lyman about the incident, the President asks in exasperation: “Are you telling me that not only did you invent a secret plan to fight inflation but now you don’t support it?” Continue reading
By William K. Black
The following passage from the transcript of Governor Romney’s secretly videotaped May 17, 2012 fundraiser has not received any attention in the media. It is a fascinating passage, however, from the perspective of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Here is the full context of the passage: